New hardware to study soft materials

21 July 2008

The Electron Microscope Unit unveiled the newly-acquired cryo-FEGTEM, Tecnai F20 instrument recently, creating new opportunities for scientists to study "soft" materials.

The instrument, the first of its kind in South Africa, will be used to study biological macromolecules, viruses, polymers and micelles.

Associate Professor Trevor Sewell, director of the unit, said: "Scientists in the Western Cape now have ready access to microscopes that are comparable with the best in the world, and are in an unprecedented position, especially if the new instrument is considered together with the similar microscope aimed at the study of 'hard' materials, recently opened at the University of the Western Cape."

Among those who attended the ceremony on 23 May were the previous owner of the instrument, Dr Richard Henderson of the Medical Research Council's Laboratory for Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, England, Dr Romilla Maharaj the executive director of Institutional Capacity Development at the National Research Foundation, Dr Felix de Haasm, an applications specialist from the manufacturer, FEI, and representatives of the South African agent, Apollo Scientific, Dr Alistair Douglas and Andries Gie.

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